Turns out Kali “the destroyer” is a giver too…

Now that I have been hanging out with this wild and wooly lady for a few months, it’s time for an update on our ever-evolving relationship.

I went back and reread my Kali blogposts a few times, and realized that I sound pretty darn scared of her in there.  And with good reason – she did more or less come at me with her sword swinging and her tongue hanging out of her mouth.  But, like all people with whom you spend a lot of time, she gets less scary as you get to know her.  I think we’re buds now – now that I’ve accepted that she’s always going to win.  I turned over victory to her, and in exchange, she’s showing me her mother goddess side.

Like all mothers, she’s a giver.

So far, she’s given me three priceless gifts:



1.  Kali forced me to finally get my meditation practice together.

Hallelujah!  This project has been in need of attention for a solid decade.  Yes, I know, it’s embarrassing to admit, but that is how long I have been “dabbling” in meditation without ever really committing to it.

I’ve been finding myself feeling naked and stripped down in the wake of Kali’s destructive energy, and wondering what happens to you when you get down to bare bones.  The answer for me is this: you sit with yourself.  That’s meditation, so far as I can tell.  I’ve been sitting in my sunroom with my eyes closed practicing letting go of my wants, my needs, my stories, and even my future.  And then I tune into what remains after the bells and whistles fall away.  It’s interesting, really…for me the sensation that follows is one of going “down and in.”  In fact, like a good downhill mountain biker, I have even come to use the phrase “Dropping In!” when I take my seat and explore this place.  In there dwells some kind of pilot light that stays warm and bright regardless of the thoughts that cross my path.  One of the scholars with whom I am studying, Craig Hamilton, would call that little flame the “evolutionary impulse.”  Others would call it divine, or the force.  Whatever it is, it’s there, and it want to move forward and create and sustain and dissolve, no matter how much Kali wreaks havoc on the details of life.  It’s clear to me that as long as that flame is lit, potential exists.


2.  Kali taught me to ask for help.

I have always been that person stumbling out of the airport with three ridiculously heavy bags who, when asked, “can I help you with one of those?” by nice man at the door, says, “no thanks, I got it.”  Always.  Which is to say that one of my stories about myself has been that I am completely self-sufficient, independent, and able to take care of myself.  Remember my blogpost about the scaffolding?  That’s my scaffolding, right there.  I’m a strong capable woman, I don’t need your help, so if you don’t offer it then it won’t matter because I am doing just fine here, thank you very much.

Wow, is that story ever NOT serving me.  Who wants to help someone who doesn’t want help?  Not me.  I teach classes all the time where I offer suggestions or adjustments to someone in the room and he or she shrugs them off.  And guess what?  I don’t go back to that corner of the room.  Connection severed.  Opportunity for human contact shot down.  That’s not how I how I want to walk in the world.   Not to mention I need some help right now!  A lot of help, in fact…and I am asking for it, in a variety of different forms.  I’ve hired someone to weed my garden beds.  I’m letting someone else tune my bike.  I’ve asked my closest girlfriend to check up on me just about daily and nudge me out of the negative cave when I go there.  I’ve told a few of my yoga classes that I can’t be bright and cheery at times and asked them to accept me as my less sparkly avatar.  Most of all I’ve admitted to myself that I don’t know what the best next step is for me, and that I am going to need help from that little flame inside and all the spaciousness around it to prod me in the right direction.  I’ve also promised myself that the next time someone offers to help me with my grocery bags I’m going to smile, say yes, and thank them – even if I don’t really need the help.


3.  Kali has taught me that when I make myself vulnerable, I open the door to connection.

I can’t believe I didn’t know this before, but truly, I did not. 

In the process of being hurt and sad and stripped down and asking for help, I also made myself more vulnerable.  I’ve said some brutally honest and real things in classes, in blogposts, in emails, in person.  They weren’t always happy and pretty and they sure weren’t “by the book confident communication.”  Examples: I’ve told countless people that I am moving but have no idea where to.  Just about everyone knows I am selling my yoga studio and don’t have a clear plan for what life looks like after it’s gone.  I’ve admitted to my classes that I was sad.  I’ve told riding partners I just couldn’t keep up.  I even told the man who dumped me that I missed him and wasn’t sure we were doing the right thing by calling it off when he said he was certain we were.  I have no idea where I got the courage to voice that, seeing as I am pretty darn sure that any dating how-to guide would tell you to keep your mouth shut.  Oh well.

The consequences of all this?  I have amassed the most amazing collection of thoughtful notes, emails, and conversation soundbytes.  I have truly been floored by the depth of what has been expressed to me in these last few months by everyone from my close friends to yoga students I have met only once.  The only explanation for this outpouring of love is that when one of us opens the door a crack, we invite everyone else to open it more.  One heartfelt truth paves the way for countless others.  That’s connection.  And, as we all know, that’s what the word yoga means – connection.

So, now what?

I don’t know if I can continue to be this vulnerable, to ask for all this help, and to stay this steady with my meditation practice.  That said, the consequences are so intriguing that I’m going to have to try.  In order to do that I am going to have to rid myself of that “I am tough and strong and fine by myself” story.  Which brings me right back to Kali, doesn’t it?  She’s good at getting rid of stuff; that’s what she does.  She reminds us that the stories are fleeting.  That our wants and needs and plans are fleeting.  That the sooner we embrace that, the sooner we can get down to the business of really living and enjoying the time we’ve got here.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’ve got anything figured out down here in Kali’s murky moat.  I’m just saying that it’s not so bad down here after all.  I’m learning and growing and crying and smiling and shifting.  And I’m starting to see the bubbles of new creation coming to the surface.  You never stay in dissolution for long, after all.  Besides, I’m getting really curious to see what rises out of the swamp.



~ by bridgetannlyons on June 4, 2012.

3 Responses to “Turns out Kali “the destroyer” is a giver too…”

  1. Kali, be with us
    Violence, destruction, receive our homage
    Help us bring darkness into the light
    To lift out the pain, the anger,
    Where it can be seen for what it is-
    The balance wheel for our vulnerable aching love.
    Within the act of creation,
    Crude power that forges a balance
    between hate and love.

    Help us to be the always hopeful
    Gardeners of the spirit
    Who know that without darkness
    Nothing comes to birth
    As without light
    Nothing flowers.

    Bear the roots in mind,
    You, the dark one, Kali,
    Awesome power,

    May Sarton

    Bridget- this Kali Prayer is for you! -Kim O.

  2. oh man i can relate to all that you said in your blog all to well. i am grateful that kali is alive in well in people lives. I would have to say her greatest gift to me is that dark cave and that moment of stillness between creation. because it is with those moments that i was able to let go and process and be mad and sad and angry and cry and vomit all the shit that was toxic to my spiritual body and my physical body…the cave a place to rest and relax and heal…she gave me permission to feel all the things i was afraid of…i think of her and the saying this too shall pass….she also gave me permission to be myself and to reconnect to my truth or own voice again…and to appreciate where i am come from so that i am enjoy where i am going.

    I have learned so much in the cave of wonder…i learned that it is okay not to know and not to have plans..because i have tried and they have never worked out..so i find it is better to just give up the control and know is some amazing way it will all work out how it is suppose to…i just have to stay connected to that inner light or listen to my heart and what feels right to me..and forget about everyone else..and what freedom to tell people when they ask me what i am doing or what my plans are..i dont know…people sometimes look at me with a blank stare but i just smile and move along.

    my life is not perfect and i am still working on letting go and coming to terms with a higher power or a source outside my self…but it is all about the journey the joyful painfully slow sometime unpleasant process. but like in any good yoga class i shake my head..smile and have a moment of what the hell…and just get on with it..cause i know something wonderful it at the end.

    this is a long response..i have had the brewing for while..so thank you for your honesty and your insight…may the answer to all your questions find you soon…or in there own time.. 🙂

  3. This is beautiful Bridget. I so get #2, about asking for help. I, for a very long time, always thought asking for help was a sign of weakness, “I should be able to do this on my own.” But through the last few years I’ve learnt that it’s OK to ask for help, and it makes my shoulders feel a lot lighter, and I’m able to breathe more, and be OK with where I’m at. I don’t know Kali very well but now but now I’m curious to see what she has to offer 🙂

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